The demands of modern, high speed machining and manufacturing is increasingly turning to the use of lasers in cutting and shaping metallic materials. Not only do modern high power lasers allow for a rapid workflow, but these techniques also allow the user to bond with tighter tolerances with welds that are significantly smoother, along with greater guidance for cutting and creating features with increased precision and difficult geometric construction. Laser welding provides extremely high speed processing of traditional materials, and the ability to machine smaller parts, temperature sensitive parts, or the ability to use materials that do not respond well to traditional welding processes.
With all of the advantages inherent in laser processing however, there are some issues associated with the process. Not only can there be concerns about the strength and uniformity of welded bonds, but there can be residues associated with the ablation and melting of the source materials – creating both re-deposited materials on the surface of the worked part, but also vapor phase emissions from materials that are either finely dispersed or converted into gas.
EMSL offers a unique blend of experience in both macro and micro analysis techniques to address many of the concerns associated with laser machining operations. Our IH and chemical analysis laboratories can determine the nature and amount of any emissions in the tooling area, as well as examine the surface of the parts for unwanted residues and alterations to the chemical structure of polymers. Laser cutting residues can also be examined for explosivity or flammability. Our mechanical test labs can examine the strength and durability of bonds with torsion, tensile pull, and fatigue testing. We can also examine the microstructure of cut or weld areas to look for micro-deposits, examine grain structure in ordered materials, as well as perform micro-chemical analysis to look for inclusions or contaminants. With years of experience in micro-machining with lasers as well as traditional metal working operations, EMSL can offer operators and engineers the tools necessary to make sure that laser forming operations are not only operating at a high level of quality, but also ensure that they are operating safely – for the environment and for the workers counting on the systems day in day out.